Worldwide growth in electric vehicles
The global electric vehicle (EV) market was estimated at 160 US$ billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to over 800 billion US$ by 2027. Electric car sales increased 40% year-on-year in 2019, reaching around 2.6% of global car sales, and resisted better than the rest of the market to the Covid downturn in the first half of 2020 (57% EV growth in Europe despite an overall car market decline of -37%). It is estimated that around one third of the world car market will be electric or hybrid by 2030. Even if this proves wrong, the current low market share means that potential for growth remains huge.
Graph: million electric cars sold per year (world), 2014 – 2040. Vertical scale: 0 – 70 million/year. Based on estimates at https://www.vpsolar.com/en/electric-cars-market-statistics/
Fire risks of e-vehicles
Existing road vehicles already represent a fire risk: over 202 000 vehicle fires, causing 560 deaths, 1 500 injuries and nearly 2 billion US$ property damage in the USA alone (2018).
But electrical and hybrid vehicles bring new and increased fire safety risks:
- Specific fire risks of batteries, related to energy concentration when fully charged (“stranded energy”), to possible mechanical faults and to risk of runaway
- High amperage drive cables and connectors charging connection, move from 12V to 24V, with risks of overheating and arcing
- Proximity and interconnection of electronics (battery management), power and communications (5G)
- More cables and connectors than in traditional vehicles